Evelyn tugged at the dress she was wearing, turning left and right in the mirror to catch different angles of herself. The dress was Lacey’s, and wasn’t exactly her style.
If she was being honest, she’d admit that her style tended more towards minimalist grunge with a flair of what her mother had once called “feminine tomboy,” with her most comfortable outfits consisting of jeans, tees, blazers or leather jackets or simple, high-cut dresses. She took much of her inspiration from Winona Ryder, who starred in many of her favorite Muggle films.
For a moment, her mind drifted to scenes from Reality Bites, which Lacey and she had gone to see only two years ago—had it really only been two years ago? It felt a world away.
She was pulled from her brief reverie when Hermione entered the bedroom, wearing a dress from Evelyn’s suitcase. It was, indeed, one of those simple, high-cut dresses in black. It came to just above Hermione’s knee, and she had paired it with hose and flat black mules.
“That fits you great!”
“I feel a bit like one of those people from that show that was on earlier—what was it? Ninety, twenty, something?”
“You mean 90210?” Evelyn laughed a bit at the absurdity of her incredibly brilliant friend struggling to understand American pop culture. That seemed to be the starkest contrast between Britain and America, to Evelyn at least. The wizarding world in the States kept a close watch on the No-Maj world—its politics, its popular culture. All of the magical families she knew in Maryland had television sets, which were tuned to receive magical channels as well as No-Maj channels. Lacey had been obsessed with Beverly Hills, 90210 as long as Evelyn could remember. She had labored over characters’ backgrounds that afternoon in an attempt to help Hermione understand the drama.
Hermione moved in next to Evelyn in the mirror and began to adjust her hair, while Evelyn returned to tugging the sides of her dress. It was also a black dress, and was designed to look like a slip. It was clear that the dress must fit Lacey like a glove, as it was a little wide on Evelyn (who was taller and leaner than Lacey—and a little more flat-chested, she noticed). However, the extra width wasn’t unflattering, and the fabric lay lovely. In fact, the fabric, the length, and the general shape were all things that Evelyn liked; it was the cut of the bust that was making her feel particularly self-conscious. The spaghetti straps barely held up the sweetheart-necked dress, which was more revealing than anything she owned.
Lacey chose that moment to return, wearing a similar dress to the one she’d insisted Evelyn wear, but tighter and cut more narrowly at the hips. It was cherry red, and she had paired it with matching heels.
“How long have you been fidgeting like that?” Lacey cut right to it.
“Since I came back to the room ten minutes ago.” Hermione interrupted, eying Evelyn’s reflected eyes. She had put up her hair and was working on a bit of make-up.
“Well, stop it. You look incredible.” She reached forward, smacking Evelyn’s hands away from her sides. “You’ll make Theo drop dead, if it’s any encouragement.”
Evelyn blushed a bit, chuckling, “I suppose it is.” She resigned herself to the dress, knowing the only other option she had was to force Hermione to switch with her, and there was no way that was going to happen. Instead, she took a seat on the bed and tugged on her low boots and form-fitting leather jacket. Lacey wrinkled her nose at the choice of accessories, but knew better than to say anything.
It seemed to have only been a few minutes when the doorbell rang, and the three girls heard Lacey’s mother usher in the others. They were practically finished, and sped through the last few steps before collecting their purses and heading downstairs.
Devon, Theo, and Bobby were dressed in similar outfits, each wearing a variation of a button-down shirt and jeans. Theo’s button-down shirt was tailored a little more closely to his body, and as Evelyn allowed her eyes to slide over him, she wondered if he bought his shirts like that or if he had to cast a spell on them so that they would fit him that well. Devon was a bit plainer, standing behind May while she talked to Hermione. His sleeves were rolled up, and the navy shirt was a few shades darker than his jeans. Bobby, on the other hand, was wearing his button-down shirt open with a white shirt underneath.
May, who immediately received compliments from all of the girls and who graciously returned them, was wearing a blush colored skirt and white, high-cut crop top. Even with her abdomen showing, she appeared an innocent contrast to Evelyn’s grunged-up slip dress. (Lacey had earlier confided that May was a bit of a closet Britney Spears fan, and she hoped they would play her new song at the dance club they were going to because she knew May would probably lose it.)
“You all look so grown up,” Miranda Coupe cooed, immediately leaving the living room to fetch the family camera while Lacey’s father tried not to comment on the length of the girls’ skirts. When she returned, she waved them together and took several photos, which immediately spit out of the camera in quick succession. It was a Polaroid that had been converted to quickly produce magical photos. The girls each took one, shaking them gently and watching at their figures came into focus.
Hermione looked at Evelyn with a furtive, devilish look—an expression new to the face—before going to Mrs. Coupe and saying something out of earshot. It wasn’t until Mrs. Coupe handed over a piece of parchment, an envelope, and a pen and announcing she would fetch the family owl that Evelyn realized what her friend had meant by her look.
Before she could intervene, Hermione had jotted out a quick note and attached the envelope to the owl. As the owl took flight, Evelyn realized she had written the names “Ronald Weasley” and “Harry Potter” in large, looping letters on the envelope. She chuckled softly to herself as her friend returned to her side, and picked up her conversation with May as if nothing had happened.
Mrs. Coupe then launched the standard litany of reminders before allowing them to depart by floo: Don’t drink too much. Stay in the wizarding part of town if you can. Stay together. Never go to the bathroom alone. Be aware of your surroundings. Be smart. Be safe. When Lacey had assured her mother that they intended on being both smart and safe and she had let her father to kiss her on the forehead, they were allowed to take the floo two at a time.
Their destination was a small section of the Adams Morgan neighborhood in Washington, D.C. known as Kalorama, which was only about thirty miles from Lacey’s home in Maryland. Kalorama was a wizarding neighborhood that took its name from Kalorama Road, where a few thousand witches and wizards had tucked away their townhomes using a series of charms and spells that kept the No-Maj generally unaware of their magical neighbors. The street was also home to a handful of bars, and allowed access to the rest of the Adams Morgan neighborhood, which had grown incredibly trendy in recent years. Young witches and wizards liked to live in the neighborhood, and commute out of the city to their jobs in larger wizarding communities in Maryland or Virginia, or were employed by the embassies in the No-Maj capital.
When they stepped out of the fireplace in the basement of the Rendezvous Lounge, an older wizard asked for identification and reviewed each of their cards in turn. For those who had not yet turned seventeen, Bobby had magicked their cards to show that they were each of age and the older wizard seemed disinterested enough to believe them. He stamped their hands and warned them that No-Maj were around that night, and to be mindful of their magic. “If you prefer a more homogenous watering hole, you can take a left out of the lounge and head down Kalorama,” he advised.
Bobby nodded, patting him on the back and leading the group up the stairs to the narrow bar above where he immediately headed for the bartender while Lacey beckoned the rest of the group to a table she’d spotted. The bar was pleasantly crowded, with most of the tables or stools at the bar occupied. Everyone looked older than them, and Evelyn could see Hermione tugging at her dress in an attempt to lengthen it.
“I think this is okay for a drink or two, but then we should move on. Maybe to Club Heaven and Hell or Bourbon?” Lacey said, leaning close to them with her elbows on the table. Evelyn nodded, remembering each of those establishments—and this one too. She let her eyes crawl over the walls and the chairs and the people, smiling despite herself. Nothing much had changed.
“I’m sure Bobby will want to go to the Picture Frame Factory.” Theo said. He was sitting next to Evelyn, and his shoulder leaned against hers. The table was probably better suited for six, but it had been their only option.
Within a few minutes, Bobby arrived with a tray of shots, glinting marigold in the dim light. A bowl of limes was on the tray as well as a saltshaker. Tequila, Evelyn knew, grinning.
“Got to get my girl’s favorite.” He said as he set the tray down. His smile was wolfish and boyish at the same time.
“What is it?” Hermione wrinkled her nose a bit as Bobby set one in front of her.
“Tequila,” Evelyn answered readily, “A classic.”
“In Evelyn’s opinion at least. Unfortunately, we can’t get Quintana here, which is our top shelf.” Theo explained, sending a look Evelyn’s way that said clearly I know everything you’ve ever done when you’ve had too much tequila. She blushed, and was immediately thankful for the low lighting.
She turned her attention to the shots, and taking the salt shaker as it was handed round, licked the back of her hand and shook a bit onto it. Hermione watched her carefully and copied the steps. When everyone had their salt and lime ready, Bobby held up his shot glass, saying, “To Evelyn, our prodigal friend. May England know how lucky she is to have you, and may America see you enough to not forget.”
She smiled broadly, clinking her glass against his and the others before licking the salt from her hand and throwing back the shot. The lime followed, along with a contented sigh—it was still her favorite.
“Merlin!” Hermione shouted as soon as she’d swallowed. “That’s your favorite?!”
“I know, right?” May nodded, her face still twisted a bit as the flavor lingered in the back of her throat. Her eyes looked a little wet.
Lacey, on the other hand, reached across the table and took Evelyn’s hands into hers. “I’m so glad you’re back.” She declared, a wicked smile on her face. Her lipstick shone in the light, stark against her white teeth.
“Another, or onward?” Bobby asked, moving the empty glasses onto the tray.
“I vote onward. I want to dance.” Lacey said, and May nodded along. Devon had moved behind her to wrap his arms around her in a casual embrace.
“What about the Picture Frame Factory?”
Theo groaned, rolling his eyes. “I knew that’s where you’d want to go.”
“Why do you resist it? You know it’s the best option.”
“Bourbon is way better.”
“And way less magical.” Bobby emphasized the word, looking around a bit to make sure they didn’t look too suspicious.
“We don’t need it!” Theo declared, “At least not right away—let’s do Bourbon. Or Lace was thinking Heaven and Hell? That club down the way. We can end at the Factory. It makes sense, especially when you think we’ll be able to, erm, catch a ride home from there.”
Bobby looked doubtful. Theo turned to Evelyn, “What do you think? It makes sense, right? You guys can dance at the club, right?” He had moved his hand to her shoulder, and the touch felt so casual that it actually confused her. Were they the kinds of friends that touched like this? She tried to remember, but the memory seemed beyond her, as if it was apart of the collection of memories that hadn’t returned to her yet.
“I think Theo’s probably got some sound logic at work here.” She conceded, looking at Bobby, “And you know how much I hate to agree with him.”
Bobby nodded, smiling then, and looking briefly in Hermione’s direction. “And you’re okay with dancing?”
“I’m a pretty decent dancer.” She shrugged.
“Alright then. Let’s go.”
Those of them that were still sitting clambered out of their seats, and they walked out in a small group, eventually moving to sets of two with Bobby leading the way as the exception, followed by May and Devon, Lacey and Theo, and Evelyn and Hermione. The air was cold, and they could see their breath as they started in on little conversations.
Evelyn pointed out a few important places as they walked by to give Hermione a better sense of the landscape. As they crossed the street, she gestured to an ordinary-looking framing studio. “That’s the Picture Frame Factory they keep talking about. It’s Bobby’s favorite bar in this part of town.”
“You mean that place with the actual frames in it?” Hermione looked skeptical, as if questioning whether Evelyn had pointed at the correct establishment.
“Yes, that’s the first floor. The basement is a bar for wizards only. You have to be able to get past the necessary charms to get in. Sometimes they have music in the evenings, and sometimes they have poets or writers reading. It’s a really mixed bag. It use to be a disco when it first opened in the seventies.”
Hermione nodded, her arm laced through Evelyn’s as they kept the quick pace of the group, making their way down the block and into Club Heaven and Hell. The man at the door seemed skeptical of some of their ID cards, but stamped their hands regardless after Lacey batted her eyes a few times and May whispered that she was getting cold.
The club was more crowded than the Rendezvous Lounge had been, and Evelyn was happy to see that many of the customers were closer to them in age. They made their way to the bar first, where Evelyn joined Bobby and Lacey in another round of shots while the other girls ordered mixed drinks and Devon and Theo ordered whiskeys on the rocks. They drifted towards the lower level, known fondly as hell, where the tempo of the music was a little quicker. The DJ was playing mostly R&B, which was largely unfamiliar to Evelyn. It wasn’t necessarily her favorite style of music, but she liked how easy it was to dance to. The group settled into a portion of the dance floor away from the DJ, where they could dance but still hear one another.
“Different than I expected!” Hermione said loudly into Evelyn’s ear as she began to shimmy back and forth, casting glances around at the people dancing nearby. Evelyn nodded, bobbing to the music. She took Hermione’s hands in hers and spun her, trying to loosen them both up. She didn’t feel quite drunk enough.
As if reading her mind, Bobby returned with four shots. He smiled broadly as he handed one shot to Evelyn and one to Lacey before taking two himself. He was moving quickly through his drinks, and his round cheeks were already flushed. Evelyn could tell Lacey was feeling her drinks as well. She had begun to make eyes at the guy who was dancing behind her and who was making eyes back at her, both of them looking for an excuse to talk to one another. Within minutes, they were dancing, their bodies moving fluidly against one another to the rhythm.
Evelyn focused on the beat, feeling warm in the crowd. She could feel eyes on her all around, but wasn’t sure exactly who was looking at her. She danced close to Hermione, whispering observations back and forth and laughing together. The longer they stayed, the more relaxed she felt.
More shots were bought and passed around, Hermione even taking one, and before long Evelyn felt that it was just the beat, her body, and her friends. She wiggled and curved her hips, smiling treacherously at men who moved too close to her, always moving away from their outstretched hands and shaking her head sweetly, mouthing no, I’d prefer to dance with my friends. She sang when she knew the words, becoming more dramatic with her movements. At one point, Bobby took up her arms and briefly waltzed with her before they both fell apart laughing. He did the same with Hermione, but Evelyn noticed that he held on to her friend longer than he had held on to her. She smiled, looking about for someone to fill the void left by Hermione, who allowed Bobby to spin her as she laughed and moved side to side.
Theo stepped into her place, holding a fresh whiskey and leaning towards her ear to say, “Looks like Hermione has a new friend.” His eyes held hers, glimmering in that playful way they did when he was telling her something that was just for her. She always loved when he looked at her like that.
Nodding, she replied, “Worlds colliding!”
When he smiled at her, she could feel her mind pulling forth all the previous times in which that smile had been directed to her. She could remember a time when she thought that he had a smile designed just for her, as if the way his dimples settled in and his eyes shown were different when they shone on everyone else. Even after these months apart, he still looked at her the way he always had—as if his soul recognized her soul. His dark eyes were fixed on hers and she couldn’t pull herself away. She’d been trying to avoid moments like this because she knew this was how it went. Every time. He could pull her back in with a brief touch or a challenging remark. All they ever needed was the tiniest spark, and they set fire.
She felt tequila propelling her forward, making her feel more like her old self—bold in her self-awareness and her feeling. She moved a little closer to him, watching out of the corner of her eye as May leaned in to Devon to say something in his ear and he looked over at them, a brief smile fluttering across his face before he replied to his girlfriend. She was feeling too drunk to care about falling into this stereotype. She felt impulsive and safe here. She reached out and briefly touched Theo’s face, rubbing the scruff on his jawline against her hand. His smile widened, and she moved her hand upwards so that the apple of his cheek sat in her palm and she moved her body closer still, allowing her hips to take up his rhythm as they danced closer to one another.
Wordlessly, he offered his drink to her, and she took a long drag from the red straw swirling in the cup. She loved whiskey almost as much as tequila, and the taste reminded her immediately of the nights they’d spent in clubs or bars just like this one, where they’d chased tequila with whiskey until they were laughing so hard and kissing so hard, they were short of breath and lightheaded. Soon, she knew, they’d be forced to chase their drinks with coffee and May would scold them for not staying hydrated and Devon would say Let them be and Theo would lean forward, whispering a private joke into her ear: We’re so together when we’re together.
She felt his nose brush against her cheek as she sipped again. “I missed this,” he admitted, a few other words lost in her hair and the sound of the music. The beard he was sporting now tickled her ear, and she giggled, nodding, “I did, too. Everything is different now.”
He nodded, smiling still and she wondered if he had been able to hear her. He must have, as he replied, “Tonight, it’s not. We’ve got tonight.”
His hands moved onto her hips, familiar with the landscape, and she let it happen—liking how light she felt, and reveling in the novelty of the feeling, which she recognized had once upon a time not been novel, but had been her constant existence.
It was only when the DJ transitioned to a new song, and a few beats were missed, that Evelyn seemed to come back to herself. It was a strange thing that happened, a brief moment where the person that she was now in Britain collided with the person she had been in America. It was in these moments, too, that thoughts of Harry would come into her mind. She wondered what he was doing, and if he was thinking of her. What had he thought of the photo Hermione had sent, and would he want to dance with her like this? Would he hate Theo for the possessive way he held her hips? Would his glasses fog up in a club like this?
She looked down at her toes, allowing herself a moment to giggle at the thought of Harry here, glasses foggy and hands knotted loosely in the small of her back, holding her close but not in a possessive way—it didn’t seem his style. His smooth jaw resting against her temple as they rocked back and forth, rarely speaking. It wouldn’t have felt necessary. She could imagine him there so clearly that she almost felt that it, too, was a memory resurfacing. Briefly, she wished it were. Memories were still coming back to her in the night, and she knew her body was expecting a few more this evening—typically she was in bed by this time, and her body had gotten used to the cycle. Often, before bed, she could feel a deep sense of foreshadowing in her gut, like her body was preparing for the trauma of remembering. She wondered briefly what the memories would be tonight, and whether they would be happy or sad—hers or Elizabeth’s.
The music transitioned again, and she came back to the moment, recognizing the song as Theo brought her closer to him with his hand resting on her lower back. The cologne he was wearing filled her nose, and she felt a little light-headed. He was looking at her with those intense eyes, wrinkled slightly at the corners as if he had been alive longer than seventeen years. She looked away, then back, and away again, always smiling and feeling coy—unable to admit to him that she was thinking of another boy, quite different than him.
“Do you remember that time I snuck you out of your house, and we were at the park? Down the street?” His breath was hot on her neck, and she suddenly realized how hot she was. Her arms felt slick in her jacket, and she became aware of small beads of sweat on her chest. She could feel her brain working diligently, but she shook her head, unable to bring the memory forth or the words. Suddenly, everyone felt crowded in beside her. Unfamiliar faces looked ghoulish in the light, and she could feel her heart rate increasing, caused either by the beat in her chest or the music—it wasn’t clear. She was drunker than she had thought, she realized, feeling unsteady on her feet.
“Of course you remember,” He insisted, leaning closer, “I couldn’t help myself.”
The otherwise innocuous phrase felt like physical impact, as if Theo had struck her across the face. The room spun a little, and she felt herself totter backwards. She knew she would have fallen if his arms hadn’t tensed around her in response. His drink sloshed out of the plastic cup he was holding, and she could feel the lukewarm whiskey run down her back and onto her legs. Theo looked suddenly more aware and less intoxicated. His mouth moved, but she couldn’t hear him—there was only silence now—and the edge of her vision was shadowy. The darkness crept further into her frame of view, until she couldn’t see anything clearly, and then there was nothing.
Evelyn was sitting in the chair that had last held Sirius Black. Time move differently now. It was unclear to her how long the group had been gone. She stared into the fire, but didn’t really watch it. She wondered briefly where Elizabeth was, but didn’t really want to know. Everything around her felt quiet, though she was certain she wasn’t the only one in Grimmauld Place just then.
Her suspicions were confirmed when a great clatter erupted from the kitchen, and Molly Weasley exclaimed. Evelyn tried to ignore the sudden ruckus, but it gained in its noise and the commotion turned into pandemonium. A small group of the witches and wizards she’d seen leave had suddenly returned, and were forced into the room onto couches or quickly conjured cots. She must have been so still that for some time she went unnoticed.
“It was only an Impediment Jinx, Molly,” A man was saying gruffly, swatting away the woman, “The landing hurt more than anything.”
Molly looked suspicious, and summoned ice from the kitchen in response. She shoved it into the man’s hands. “Lie there then while I tend to the others.”
“Tonks was hit with the same, but she’s gotten it worse. She’s been knocked unconscious, and I think we may have to take her to St. Mungo’s.” A tall man who Evelyn had heard called Kingsley earlier that day was explaining as he stood beside a cot, where he had placed a slight woman with vivid purple hair that matched the bruise forming on her cheek.
Molly nodded, looking attentively at the woman for a moment before turning to look at Kingsley with pursed lips, “And you?”
“Bellatrix hit me with a curse—I’m not sure what it was, but it was painful. I felt a little unsteady on my feet, but I think I’ll be okay.”
“I’ll fix you something,” Molly said, looking validated with action. “And the others? Where’s Dumbledore? And Remus and Sirius?”
Evelyn noticed immediately the way darkness fell over Kingsley’s eyes and those of the other man, and she was sure Molly noticed it too, particularly as silence spread between them.
Kingsley was the first to speak. “Albus stayed behind with the children—they’ll be taken back to the school to be treated by Poppy. Ginny sprained her ankle, so you’ll probably want to head to Hogwarts to check on her as soon as Arthur can be ready. The Ministry arrived, and was arresting many of the Death Eaters that had been incapacitated. Remus was going to stay there, and sweep the department with them to ensure it’s done right. We-we can’t be too careful.”
Evelyn was surprised by the slight stutter, as Kingsley didn’t hold himself like a man who was unsure of his words. Then, she realized, the issue was that he wasn’t sure how to say the next part. In his stumbling, the other man inserted himself, speaking frankly. “And Black was killed.”
There were familiar voices, but she couldn’t place the sounds. It was dark and her vision was blurry. Someone said, “We’ve got to get her out of here. She could be sick.”
And someone else said, “No. It’s not like that. This has happened before—didn’t she tell you?”
She was moving, but it wasn’t her legs or her arms. Her body felt heavy, and she was trying to focus but she couldn’t. All of her joints felt stiff, and her head throbbed. This was familiar pain, she knew, this was remembering.
Later that same evening, Molly convinced Kingsley and the other man who had been identified as Moody to take the woman, who had also been identified as Tonks, to St. Mungo’s. She felt the healers there would want to check out all of their injuries, but she was most concerned with Tonks, who had woken only for a few minutes to sputter some nonsense about a watch before drifting back into fitful unconsciousness. They were worried she may have been concussed, but wanted to ensure the spell that had hit her wasn’t causing any latent damage.
After they left, the house was quiet again, and Molly tried to occupy her hands while she waited for Albus, Remus, or another Order member to arrive. She cast sidelong looks at Evelyn, who had remained quiet all through the various conversations that had taken place in that room that afternoon. Evelyn knew that Molly would eventually have to leave as well to check on her daughter. Her husband had come and gone already, and Molly had told him she’d be along—as soon as someone arrived to be with Evelyn.
She resented this treatment, as if she was too young to take care of herself. She resented Molly’s watchful eye, which felt simultaneously mothering and pitying. She wasn’t surprised that Elizabeth kept to her room; it was probably easier that way.
Footsteps in the hall a few moments later brought both Remus Lupin and Albus Dumbledore into the sitting room. Both men looked tired, and sadness hung off of Remus like a cloak. He had carried that around with him since Evelyn’s arrival, each day looking heavier. She wanted to reach out to him, the one familiar face in the chaos that had come since Evelyn’s aunts had left, but she didn’t move—she was stopped by the change in his eyes when he looked at her.
“Molly, you can go.” Albus said softly and without much pretext. It was clear she had been about to say something else, but instead she conceded and left the room.
“Evelyn,” Remus said soft, clearing his throat. “Could you please go get Elizabeth? Your aunts are on their way. We have something to tell you.”
When Evelyn returned with her sister a few moments later, the room had taken an even more somber tone. Both of her aunts had joined the men, and Evelyn was shocked to see her Aunt Minnie looking pale and resting on a walking stick.
“Has something happened?” She said softly, eying her aunt. She had spoken so little these past days that her voice sounded foreign to her.
“Nothing to worry about, dear,” Her aunt said softly, but unconvincingly. Demeter eyed her sister, and it was clear that she disagreed with her decision to withhold whatever had happened, but she said nothing. “We have more important matters to discuss.”
Elizabeth looked confused, and Evelyn felt that must have been the same expression she was wearing. Albus Dumbledore spoke next, saying, “Please take a seat” and gesturing to the couch, where they were joined by their aunts. Demeter placed an arm around Evelyn, and she wondered briefly if they were being braced for some kind of impact.
“When I was searching the Department of Mysteries with Ministry officials earlier, I was allowed to enter the Hall of Prophecy. Most of the prophecies were destroyed during the battle that took place today,” Remus paused, looking closely at the four women seated in front of him as if to see if any of them would object or insert themselves. No one did. “The protective spells that were cast on the prophecies had been lifted so that officials could aid in the cleanup. They were asked not to use magic in an attempt to sift through the remnants more carefully; the Unspeakables were frantic to discover what had been preserved and what could be salvaged.
“I found one—one that managed to survive the battle. When I saw the names, I couldn’t help myself.” It was then that Remus reached into the deep pocket of his robe and produced an orb that seemed to glow dimly in his hand. It had a spider web crack on the side facing them, and a few scuffs near the place where Remus’s thumb met the orb. It looked a bit strange to Evelyn, who immediately saw the label that Remus’s other hand had turned to face them. In the firelight, Evelyn could see written on the label four brief rows of text:
S.P.T to A.I.M.C. and I.W.C.
Seeing her name there, next to her sister’s, felt impossible.
“Whose initials are those?” Elizabeth said softly, turning to Minerva who was seated next to her.
“I believe the first belong to the Divination professor at the school,” Albus responded first, followed by their aunt.
“The others are your parents—Athena Isobel McGonagall Castell and Ian William Castell.”
It was quiet for several minutes before Evelyn had the courage to ask, “Did you know? Any of you?” Quiet followed again as the adults exchanged glances, eyeing one another and avoiding Evelyn and Elizabeth’s identical eyes.
“I knew about this prophecy.” The sentence came so quietly and confidently from her elder aunt that Evelyn didn’t even initially register surprise. “Athena told me about it. In fact, Sybil made it on the grounds of Hogwarts.”
“You can’t be serious—“ Demeter sounded more indignant than Evelyn felt. She looked sideways at her sister, who seemed to be staring pointedly at her knees.
“Demeter, Athena begged me not to tell anyone—and you were still so young. It was only 1981, the girls hadn’t even turned one yet.”
“Had mother died?”
“It had only been a few weeks. You had just come to live with me, and Athena had come to visit with Ian for the Easter Holiday so that we could celebrate together. We decided to stay at Hogwarts, because you were just getting use to being there with me.” With an encouraging nod from Albus, Minerva continued. “Athena and Ian were taking the girls for a walk on the grounds. They could barely toddle, but it was a warm day and they wanted to get some fresh air after Easter supper. When they came back to my quarters, they were so shaken—I’d never seen Ian like that. You know how he was. That’s when they told me.”
“I cannot believe you didn’t feel the need to tell me this! Or that Athena kept it from me—and look at Remus, it’s apparent he didn’t know either! All of these people, we could have protected them. We could have used the prophecy to better understand the danger.” Demeter was struggling for words, trying to find a way to understand why this had been withheld from her.
Her eldest sister reached across the backs of their nieces, just barely able to touch the tips of her fingers onto Demeter’s shoulder. The look on her face was sad and soft. In this light, Aunt Minnie looked much older than the last time they’d seen her. “No, Demeter, no. It wouldn’t have made a difference. As far as I can tell, the prophecy is about something else—it’s about the girls, themselves, not about Athena or her family generally.”
Tears had leaked out from the corners of Demeter’s eyes, and Evelyn felt it was necessary to comfort her aunt in some way. She placed her hand on her aunt’s knee, and smiled at her tightly. Grief seemed to settle on all of their shoulders, and Evelyn hated the way it had sat around them since their arrival. It was beginning to fell unbearable; the weight alone was at times too much for her, and she felt suffocated by it, as though her body hadn’t been built to properly deal with all of these emotions.
After Remus offered Demeter a handkerchief and she spent a few moments dabbing her eyes, Evelyn looked at Dumbledore and asked softly, “Can we hear it then? If it’s about us, I want to hear it.”
“Are you sure? Once you have heard it, it cannot be unheard.”
Evelyn looked briefly at Elizabeth, who hadn’t spoken or moved throughout the conversation, and then at Demeter, who looked small and angry next to her on the couch. Then she looked back at Dumbledore, at the aging face that was increasingly familiar to her, and nodded sharply. “We should all know, I think.”
Dumbledore nodded, lips closed tightly together. He motioned towards Remus with his hand, and Remus held out the glowing orb to Evelyn.
“You’ll both have to take it.”
It was then that Elizabeth looked up. Evelyn turned towards her sister, the orb cradled in her hands, and Elizabeth placed her hands gingerly under her sister’s hands so that they, together, held the orb. Immediately, the light coming from within the orb strengthened and an unfamiliar voice rose along with the light.
“Born under Gemini, two with a weight in the war… One… As Helen did Troy… The other… Clytemnestra… Loved as she was loved, betrayed as she was betrayed… Either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… Beware the Goddess of Discord… Betrayed as she was betrayed—”
When the voice drifted away and the prophecy ended, Evelyn lifted her eyes from the glowing orb in her hands and met the eyes of her sister. White spots of light danced across her vision, and no one seemed to be breathing.
Almost four thousand miles away, a boy with a lightening bolt scar sat up in bed. Pain rippled across his forehead, and his breath was the only jagged sound in the dark bedroom. He could feel his pajama top cling to his chest, as he tried to throw off his covers and orient himself to the room. The pain was too much, however, and his feet slipped on the cold floorboards.
The loud thudding of Harry’s knees meeting the floor brought Ron to the door, “Mate?”
“Something’s happened—” was all Harry could manage.
Author's Note: I'm really excited to share this chapter with you all, and to see what you think of this development! I've been working towards this moment, which I know has been alluded to throughout the series thus far. I know the suspense of the prophecy isn't necessarily the driver of the plot, but it is a major component! Let me know what you think... or what you fear! There's definitely a mess ahead for Evelyn and Elizabeth. Always, Antigone xx
Credits: The line "either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives" is originally from the work of JK Rowling. The banner was created by me.
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